HOUGHTON, Mich. - The #23 Saginaw Valley State University football team stayed unbeaten in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) play after posting a 55-35 victory on the road against the Michigan Tech University Huskies.
The victory moves SVSU to 8-1 overall and 8-0 in GLIAC play, as the Cardinals still hold a two-game advantage in the GLIAC North Division.
The offense was paced all day by a career ground performance from senior running back Norman Shuford, who rushed 35 times for a career-high 217 yards. Shuford added five catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
Shuford's only touchdown marked the first score on the game's opening drive. Senior quarterback Jonathon Jennings hit Shuford on a three yard scoring play as the Cardinals were facing a third down and goal from the Michigan Tech three yard line. A successful PAT by junior kicker Scott Stanford made the score 7-0 just four minutes into the game.
The Cardinals scored on their next drive as well, with Jennings scoring the first of his four rushing TD's from seven yards out at the 8:15 mark in the first quarter. Another PAT made the lead 14-0. The four scores on the ground is a career-high for Jennings.
The Huskies scored three consecutive touchdowns to grab a 21-14 lead, as Tyler Scarlett connected with Jordan McConnell on a pair of touchdowns before Scarlett had a TD rush for the third score.
Saginaw Valley took the ensuing drive five plays and 81 yards down field and Jennings hooked-up with freshman wide receiver Leonte Degraffenreid for his first career TD catch with 1:14 left in the half.
That score tied the game at 21-21, as that's where the score would stand entering the half after a 33 yard field goal attempt by Tech sailed wide left.
The first score of the second half came as Jennings scored from a yard out with 9:17 left in the third, extending the lead to 28-21.
Senior linebacker Brian Johnson picked-off Scarlett on the Huskies' first play of the next drive, giving the Cards the ball at the Tech 36 yard line.
SVSU advanced the ball to the eight yard line, and settled for a 25 yard Stanford field goal to make the score 31-21 at the 6:16 marker in the third.
After forcing a punt, Saginaw Valley scored once more on its fourth play of the drive as Jennings found senior wideout Michael Albrecht for a 13 yard score. Albrecht finished the game with five catches and 57 yards.
Stanford would add a 22 yard field goal to open scoring in the fourth quarter, extending the Cardinal lead to 41-21.
Senior cornerback DeAngelo Parris intercepted Scarlett on Tech's first play of the next drive, giving SVSU the ball back at the Tech 32.
After six-straight rushes, five by Shuford, Jennings capped-off the seven play drive with a TD plunge from one yard out. That made the Cardinal lead 48-21 with 8:31 left in the game.
The Huskies got on the board again, as Scarlett hit Brandon Cowie for a 3 yard touchdown, cutting the lead to 48-28.
The Cards' next drive ended in a blocked punt that was recovered in the endzone for another Huskie touchdown, making the score 48-35 at the 3:01 marker in the fourth.
On the third play of the Cardinals' ensuing drive, Jennings scored on a 47 yard scamper to finish the game's scoring, as the scoreboard stayed at 55-35 with just 1:58 remaining in the contest.
Michigan Tech put together a drive that stalled at the Cardinal 22 yard line, and a turnover on downs allowed SVSU to kneel on the ball and run the clock out for the 20 point victory.
Shuford's 217 yards rushing accounted for a good chunk of Saginaw's 554 yards of total offense. He was named the Meijer "Player of the Game" for his rushing performance.
Jennings finished the game 19-of-29 passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns. Jennings's four rushing TD's gave him seven total TD's to go along with 307 yards of total offense.
Degraffenreid had four catches for a team-high 59 yards receiving.
Johnson led the defensive attack with a game-high 11 tackles and one of three SVSU interceptions.
Sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Sanders added seven tackles to the cause.
Saginaw Valley held a 31:36 to 26:14 advantage in time of possession.
The Cardinals return home next Saturday (Nov. 9) for another GLIAC matchup, this one against Northern Michigan University (3-5, 3-5 GLIAC). Kickoff is set for 1:00 pm at Wickes Stadium.